“For a tree there is hope; if it be cut down, that it will sprout again and that its tender shoots will not cease. Even though its roots grow old in the earth and its stump die in the dust. Yet at the first whiff of water, it may flourish again and put forth branches like a young plant.” Job 14:7-9
The Healing Garden was created by a committee of victims-survivors diocesan priests, and staff from the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) and approved by Francis Cardinal George, OMI. The garden of the Archdiocese of Chicago is intended to be a place that invites reconciliation, hope and healing, not only for survivors and their families, but also for the larger Catholic Church. It’s through the garden that many victims/survivors have been able to heal, learn and grow from the events they’ve suffered, freeing their spirits from fear, shame and judgement.
Since the garden’s dedication on June 9, 2011, the committee has hosted an annual Mass for Hope and Healing and annual pinwheel planting prayer service to support Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every year hundreds of children, high school students, teachers, clergy, and families attend the prayer service in the garden. In 2013, the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Assistance Ministry, Black Catholics, Peace and Justice and Catholics for Non-Violence came together at the Healing Garden to seek solutions to violence using Gospel non-violence.
The Healing Garden will continue to support programs that call attention to healing for victims/survivors and their families, as well as those who promote child abuse prevention efforts.